Happy 20th anniversary to Space Jam, a movie where cartoon characters and sports stars battle aliens in a game of basketball with the help of Newman and Bill Murray. As a gift on this momentous occasion, the director of that movie would like to make it clear that he can’t imagine a remake working.
In a tribute to a movie that occupied way too much of my childhood, come to think about it, Entertainment Weekly has a lengthy interview with director Joe Pytka. He tells a number of great stories, but the best part is his opinion of every single part of any potential remake. On a version from Justin Lin (Star Trek: Beyond) and LeBron James, Pytka seems baffled, saying:
I think it’s ridiculous to try and make a different movie out of it. I can’t see it. I can’t imagine how it could be what that film was. Not that Space Jam is a great movie, but it had something that touched that period of time because of who those athletes were and it doesn’t exist anymore.
He is right that there is something very purely ‘90s about that movie. It’s literally everything they thought would make money back then slammed into a blender. It’s so dumb that it’s almost perfect. And I don’t think this decade is nearly cheesy enough for it.
But Pytka is not done slamming today’s players for not being nearly as famous as Michael Jordan. He turned down representatives from Dwight Howard who wanted to do a sequel with him, based on his belief that it just didn’t work without Jordan. And then he brought Steph Curry into the mix, too:
I’ve worked with LeBron and I’ve worked with Steph Curry, and as good a player as LeBron is and as good a player as Steph Curry is, they’re not Michael Jordan. We will never see another player like him. He was a transcendent figure, much like Muhammad Ali. He was beyond his sport. These guys aren’t.
Oh no, why can’t they get the chance to do their dance at the Space Jam?
It’s just so beautiful in that he’s kind of right—the splintering of everyone’s attention actually means Space Jam wouldn’t quite work now. It’d have to be a sports star teaming up with the Avengers to fight Darth Vader with Taylor Swift providing the theme song. That idea is probably on Disney’s ideas board right now, actually.
Pytka is aware he might be letting his attachment fuel his resentment, since he told EW, “I don’t see how it could work. Plus, I don’t want them to make it. That’s probably the real reason, isn’t it?”
Yes, but that doesn’t make him wrong.